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NMSU engineering student Thompson receives six graduate school offers

Kevin Thompson is set to graduate in May with his bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering and a minor in mathematics. Until recently, he was struggling with a very difficult decision.

NMSU electrical and computer engineering graduate Kevin Thompson will pursue his doctorate at the University of Arizona. (Courtesy photo)

Thompson had to choose from among six graduate programs to which he had been accepted: University of Arizona, University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Texas at Austin Ph.D. programs. He also was accepted by the University of Delaware, Stanford University and University of Michigan master's programs.

"I've worked hard to get to this point. It is a great feeling to know I have the opportunity to attend so many great institutions. The hard part now is making a decision," Thompson said.

Before applying to each program, Thompson sought counsel from his advisers about which programs would be best for pursuing a master's and doctorate in electrical and computer engineering. He admits that he tends to favor universities in the southwest.

In an attempt to sway his decision in their favor, three universities flew Thompson out for site visits to the campus.

"I had a great time visiting each school. I met many top-notch faculty and peers visiting from other institutions. I flew directly to Tucson, to Austin, to Denver and back, all in one week, and then Delaware the next. Lots of travelling," he said.

NMSU professor of electrical and computer engineering Steven Stochaj has had Thompson in two classes and attributed Thompson's success to his high GPA and GRE exam scores, as well as his work as a research assistant and his time participating in the Army High Performance Computing program at Stanford University.

"It's a great advertisement for NMSU. Kevin is one of the best-qualified students we have for graduate school. I'm glad he has the opportunity to go to one of the best schools in the United States," Stochaj said.

After much deliberation, Thompson made his final decision and will attend the University of Arizona's Ph.D. program in the fall to pursue a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering.

"I will be attending the University of Arizona, working for Dr. Nathan Goodman in radar signal processing. The connection I felt with my future advisor was the strongest of any I visited. He's doing research that interests me very much. I was offered a nice research assistantship package, and the close proximity to home is a plus," Thompson said.

He added that the University of Arizona also works with Raytheon Missile Systems, where he will be interning this summer and working with throughout his graduate career.

Once he obtains his doctorate, Thompson plans on working in the research and development division of a leading corporation in industry or at a national laboratory.

Thompson, a Las Cruces native, graduated second in his class of 436 from Las Cruces High School in 2007. He is expected to graduate from NMSU in May with a 4.0 GPA. He is currently president for NMSU's Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student chapter and has been involved with the organization since his freshman year, holding several officer positions during that time. He also is vice president of Eta Kappa Nu, NMSU's electrical engineering honor society.